During the early years, A.B.A.T.E.
of PA had few legislative supporters. We were a little rough around the edges and hadnt yet learned how to influence legislation in Harrisburg. There were a few legislators, though, who saw us as friends even though they werent ready to be seen with us yet. One of the most influential was Senator Clarence Bell.
In 1985, A.B.A.T.E. of PA hired its first lobbyist, Herb Packer.
In 1987, A.B.A.T.E. of PA created BikePAC as an independent, fully chartered PAC.
With a lobbyist and a PAC, A.B.A.T.E. of PA was finally in a position to begin influencing the legislative process. Prior to having these tools in place, A.B.A.T.E. of PA had not moved any major bills out of committee.
Three years later, on November 20, 1990, A.B.A.T.E. of PA got its first full House vote on a helmet law modification bill. An amendment to HB 1867 offered by Mike Veon was defeated by a vote of 89 yea to 124 nay.
On June 4, 1991, A.B.A.T.E. of PA got its second House vote. HB 369 (introduced by Representative Mike Veon) was defeated by a vote of 77 yea to 124 nay.
In 1992, A.B.A.T.E. of PA got its first Senate vote. SB 7 (introduced by Senator Clarence Bell) was defeated by a vote of 21 yea to 26 nay.
These votes represented significant progress in that A.B.A.T.E. of PA had learned how to navigate the committee process and move bills to the floor. Many grass-roots organizations never get to that point. Unfortunately, a floor vote in only one of the many hurdles a bill must pass before coming law. A.B.A.T.E. of PA was learning just how hard it is to get a bill over all of them.
From 1992 to 1997, A.B.A.T.E. of PA spent its time building a legislative majority in both houses. One vote at a time, it took five years before another attempt was deemed practical.
Next: A.B.A.T.E. of PA
Winning the Legislative Process